How could nature be self-governing? Can blockchain technology, which gives participants roles, accountability, and decision-making rights, provide natural ecosystems and species with the tools necessary to be sovereign on their own?
Operating at the intersection of ecology, economics, and emerging tech, Sovereign Nature Initiative (SNI) is partnering with conservation organizations to find solutions to those questions in a radical redefinition of the value of nature.
After more than a year of research and development with their inaugural conservation partner Kenya Wildlife Trust, SNI has launched DEEP – Decentralised Ecological Economics Protocol – which makes ecological data (eco-data) available to Web3 creators. To date, SNI’s DEEP has turned eco-data from Kenya Wildlife Trust (KWT), such as biosocial information and biological characteristics of real lions, into interactive art and Web3 gaming avatars.
Andrea Leiter, co-founder of SNI and an expert in economic law, shared: “It is important for us to flip the economics for conservation organizations. We want to make big money flows available on a sustainable level to ‘revalue’ as we like to say, the work of conservation organizations stewarding biodiversity and connections between humans and the nonhuman world.”
The SNI team recently launched two pilot projects using DEEP in order to test their hypothesis on existing applications for eco-data, using these informational assets to create new revenue streams and value exchanges for conservation organizations.
In March, Tracing The Wild, an experiential art exhibit that utilizes real lion tracking data from KWT, plus audio field recordings and inspiration from Kenya’s famed Maasai Mara wildlife reserve, debuted at Nairobi Design Week. This unique conservation-focused art installation featured data artwork by Chuma Anagbado and Daria Smakhtina paired with
a soundscape by Mercy Barno brought to life the complex and interactive relationship between predators and humans. During the exhibit, Anagbado and Smakhtina’s art was made available as digital collectibles for Web3 enthusiasts, and SNI launched its Wild Token, a membership coin to connect a global community of people passionate about the intersection of community-led conservation and Web3.
DEEP also played an instrumental role in Sovereign Nature Initiative’s recent partnership with Moonsama, the vibrant creator and gaming community of the Polkadot blockchain ecosystem.
To bring lions to the metaverse, SNI’s DEEP operates as a conduit for connecting the lion data produced by KWT, including information about the lions’ size, physical attributes, alliances, coalitions, and ages, with the gaming community in Moonsama. Lion cub NFTs that will evolve into full-grown lions alongside their real-life counterparts are now roaming the lands of Moonsama’s digital worlds.
The sale of the lion cub avatars raised over $100,000 for Kenya Wildlife Trust, supporting their conservation efforts such as the Lion Ambassador initiative, which trains people in the Mara region to track lions and prevent human-wildlife conflict, as well as the Collars For Conservation program, which uses GPS technology to track the hunting and migration patterns of lions.
By forging connections between the dynamic nature of animal and plant data and online creative communities, SNI’s DEEP presents a groundbreaking opportunity for conservation organizations to exchange value while providing a fresh perspective for people to engage with nature in digital environments that are closely intertwined with the physical realm and real-world conservation efforts.